melanie liang

To share my little thoughts and experiences in this big world

Month: December, 2013

Play On

My december beach holiday jam (Y)

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We are all born with the raw ingredients of a fulfilling life. We simply need the right conditions to thrive.

We are all born with a need for positive regard from others. (somewhat similar to the need to be socially accepted) Our self-concept is influenced by the conditions of worth – standards we must live up to – shaped by the society in which we live. Hence, this self-concept does not fully reflect our genuine, innate desires. A person who dedicates himself/herself to such goals might be very successful by the outward appearances but might feel utterly unfilled inside, and never feels truly happy.”

Carl Rogers – Humanistic Psychologist

Adapted from The Science of Psychology. 2nd Ed. Laura A. King.

Crossroads

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Everyone has their own story to tell. Who we are and what revolves around us right now are the results of our actions and choices in the past. At each phase of our lives, different opportunities knock on our door, and they usually only come once. Each decision we make is a key that opens the way to an entirely different path; a different place, with different people, with different purposes.

Many of us would probably be satisfied with where we are standing now, and looking back, we might feel relieved that we had made the right choices then. But there are a handful of us who might be regretting the paths which we had taken. Why did we make those “wrong” or “bad” decisions back then? Did we adamantly make those choices despite knowing that things might turn out badly in the end? Perhaps it was one of those instances when we really didn’t know better. We can’t possibly predict what society would throw at us, can we?

But if maturity comes from experience, and wisdom can be acquired, would we then have enough wisdom when we’re older to make the right choices? – Not necessarily the correct choices, but will we have wisdom such that should things not go as planned, we’d be able to look at it and learn from it as an honest mistake, instead of a reckless decision? Would we be more contented that way?

Then again, those mistakes played a part in determining where we stand at present. Sometimes I can even be amazed by my stupidity and the silly mistakes I’ve made in the past. But those mistakes played a part in moulding me into the person I am today, taught me who the important people in my life are, who I should trust, and helped me develop that sheer bit of maturity and wisdom (I think) I have.

Random thoughts I’m pinning down yet again, before leaving Cambodia for Thailand.

Cheers everyone!

Be happy

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At the end of the day, everyone is just trying to find their own happiness, to film a life story with a happy ending which they can feel accomplished in retrospect. But what does it mean to find happiness and how do we find happiness? What does happiness even mean? Most of us seem to adopt the definition of “happiness” instilled in our minds by this capitalist society and we are stuck in a rat race to achieve that definition.

Before I fly off to Cambodia, I want to put this onto my blog. It’s something I wrote a while ago about what I think happiness should be. Hope I’ll believe in this stronger after my OCIP experience in Cambodia:

True happiness isn’t an emotion; it isn’t just the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a state of mind – YOUR state of mind. It is not dependent on other people. I think many of us including myself tend to attribute our happiness to how other people SEEM to be living, and social media just makes it worse. But who are you to know how they’re truly living? And similarly, who are they to tell you whether or not you’re doing things right? Do not depend on other people to tell you how happy you are. Be happy yourself, be happy alone, and embrace every good essence of your being wherever you are, whatever circumstance you’re in.

And right now, before I leave for the airport, basking myself in music makes me happy.

In the mood for…

Casual Jam & MrRevillz Deep House Mix Vol. 1

Learning

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”

– Mark Twain

Motivation vs passion.

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As they always say, humans are social animals. Does this mean that survival is our primary motivation? Seems legit, but I doubt we can generalize this across all situations and circumstances.

Was catching up with a friend at Antoinette yesterday and we were on the topic about being able (or unable) to follow your passion in a stifling society like ours. While it is true that the arts and sports scene is booming, I’m sure many people especially the older generation still have doubts about pursing such professional careers, and a few years back the situation was certainly more overt then. I couldn’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I had chosen to pursue what I really loved doing back then. Instead of doing so, I chose to go where my results took me so I took on what seemed like a really normal route – went to JC after sec, and now I’m in uni, and then I’m gonna get a job after I graduate. Same old. I was thinking, if I gave up those aspirations to follow the safer route, doesn’t this just mean that I didn’t even love those aspirations enough in the first place? Meaning to say that those motivations weren’t strong enough to propel me to take on the necessary steps to get there. My take on this was that if you love something so much such that you would deem your life to be meaningless without it, this particular thing would be “essential to your survival” and hence it would be a primary motivation for you. Therefore, it is given that you do whatever it takes to get it – which is why I thought that I didn’t love those aspirations enough.

My friend brought up a counter-argument though. Firstly, motivation and passion are separate entities. Secondly, we have rationalizing minds. Putting these together, it means that you may have a passion, but after rationalizing the “practicality” of your aspirations, the path to which your passion gets translated into motivation is ultimately shaped by the society.

Yes. Social norms. You may be really passionate about something, but society would tell you that it isn’t practical and it doesn’t give you a secure future. The more you are shaped by these societal values, the more your motivations in life will sync in tune with what motivates our society as a whole, and not what you truly love doing. I am saying something cliché right now but I do have to note two points:

  1. I am not giving anyone any advice about “living your dream” and daring to go against social norms to do what you truly love. Yes, we have seen success stories from the handful of those who live by those idealistic goals. But my personal viewpoint is that not everybody has the right mix of ingredients in life to be able to “live their dream”; the right opportunities, the right time, the right environmental influences, and the right character, the right mindset. Yes, my life is mine to own and I don’t need society to define who I should be. But through my cultural lens and where I come from, I feel that ultimately no man is an island. We live in a society and it is inevitable that we are affected by the forces of human interactions. I think that there’s nothing wrong with that really.
  2. I am happy with my life. Yes I didn’t get to pursue those things that I wanted to do, and I admit that my motivations changed throughout these years, shaped by social norms. I find nothing wrong with that because at the end of the day, I am still able to do the things I love even though they aren’t my primary focus in life. I did not choose to do anything I utterly dislike, and right now what I’m doing and what I’m studying is truly what I like to study and what I can see myself doing in the future. It is still part of my “things I would love to do” list. Recently I’ve been reading a book, How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen. Somewhere along the way he mentioned this:

“But for many of us, as the years go by, we allow our dreams to be peeled away. We pick our jobs for the wrong reasons and then we settle for them. We begin to accept that it’s not realistic to do something we truly love for a living. Too many of us who start down the path of compromise will never make it back”

While I agree with him that it is obviously possible to do what you truly love for a living, I feel like this views are very westernized (it is no wonder they call America the land of dreams) and I’m not really used to it. I think that compromise isn’t entirely bad. I don’t necessarily have to do the number one on my list that I really want to do (not everyone has the right opportunities that come their way to do so), as long as I still love what I’m doing!

I am motivated by common things. I want a job that allows me to live comfortably enough in the future. I want financial security. But at the same time, I will want to make sure I don’t do something that I dislike just because of the money and I want to do something I love doing. At the same time, I am still dancing, playing music, and doing the things I have passion for. Ultimately, it’s all about striking a balance between motivation and passion. This is what I think.

Introduction.

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This isn’t meant to be another one of those thought catalog sites, but I just felt the urge to start a blog to pen down some thoughts that strike me in my day to day life. I happen to think a lot – too much for my own good at times – some thoughts are pretty deep, many thoughts are silly, and I just hope to share some of these with anyone who might be sharing similar experiences as I am and wondering about the same things as I do. Many of these thoughts and questions have no answers. They are just reflections of the ways of life I have noticed in our society today. Maybe these thoughts might change as I get older; after all, I am only 20 years old and I still have so much to learn and grow from. Whoever you are and wherever you are at this point of your life, if you’re reading this I wish it would make the next 10 minutes of your life meaningful in some way or another. I can’t do much to change the world or the way things are in our society (not sure if I want to either), but sharing my thoughts is within my purview to make a little contribution to the people living around me.

Welcome, and I hope this blog finds you well. : )